Sunday, 7 June 2009
150509 Taiping style
When we were in Taiping, I took so many pictures of the place, mostly without any theme or category, thus this post is all about the relaxed and easy-going way that is the Taiping style. As we go along, I’ll put captions at the bottom of some of the pictures to explain what the picture is about.
A lok-lok stall in Taiping – a common sight many years ago, not so common these days
Taiping is a little quiet town in the state of Perak; located somewhere near the middle Western coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Known as the wettest town in the country, it is also famous for its Lake Garden, and once famous for its zoo.
The owner of the stall doing the washing up – she gave me a huge grin when she realised her stall was being photographed
Back many years ago, this town was full of hustle and bustle. People would throng the narrow streets flanked by rows of olden-style colonial shop-houses, ringing the bells on bikes and saying hi to the people who went by. Whenever new movies were released, a selected few would have their posters specifically painted to be posted onto the huge billboards that were put up in front of the cinemas.
An example of what is sold at the lok-lok stall; this is the sotong kangkung which is cooked by dipping it in boiling water from the pot in the stall, and eaten with a mixture of sauces
These days, the town is much less busy, and the sounds of hustle and bustle are not as frequently heard. The streets have more cars parked on them than people, and the 8 independent cinemas which used to flourish as the centre of the social scene have all but closed down, giving way to one huge multi-screen cineplex at the edge of town.
Curry mee from the Lake Garden food court in Taiping
You can still get good food in Taiping, though quite a few of the better ones have upped and left for the bright lights and business opportunities in Kuala Lumpur. The ones that have remained in Taiping continue to be frequented by their loyal customers who have dined with them for many years. Though alot of the street stalls have moved to cleaner and bigger food courts, the dishes served up remain the same – each one uniquely Taiping in flavour and style.
Curry mee in all its deliciousness
Tourists are few and far between in this little town. That was why my camera and I were stared at alot of the time, but true to their friendly form, most people gave huge grins when they realised I wanted to snap pictures of them.
A plate of siew-yuk (roast pork), served Taiping-style with chilli sauce
The way in which food is served here differs quite significantly to the way food is served in the larger cities. If I had to liken it to something, I’d say that the way food is served here is pretty much the same way it was served 20 years ago. Where many restaurants in other towns focus on small portions and intricate presentation, what you get here is usually good old fashioned practicality on a plate. Big pleasing portions for prices you wouldn’t hesitate at, and tasty food without much fuss.
Assortment of meats on display to be ordered by the customer
When in Taiping, there are lots to do, lots to see, hear, smell and lots to eat. Start off by going for a big, steaming hot bowl of kuay teow at Restoran Kakak, served with a side dish of chicken feet and fishballs. Go for a stroll around Lake Garden, taking in the hundred year old trees with their branches reaching out towards the lake. Go up Bukit Larut check out the dense trees and monkeys, enjoying the humid green scent.
A scale used in weighing the siew-yuk
Have a wander around the markets, buy the kuih (traditional pastries) on offer, try the local drinks and snacks, have some rojak (mixed fruit salad). Sit in the afternoon sun and when it gets too hot, go for a cold, refreshing shaven-ice cendol dessert.
A wander through Taiping Lake Garden
Who says a small little town can’t captivate your interest?